05/02/2003 12:00AM

Turf specialists eye rich Jim Murray


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Turf specialists The Tin Man and Continental Red turned in relatively fast workouts Friday, preparing for the $400,000 Jim Murray Handicap on Saturday. The purse of the 1 1/2-mile turf race has been boosted from $75,000-added in an effort to make it one of the premier long-distance turf races in Southern California. Already, the field is likely to attract a stronger group than the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano run April 20 at Santa Anita.

The Tin Man worked seven furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:25.20, and will be racing for the first time since a 9 1/2-length win Feb. 15 in the San Luis Obispo Handicap. Continental Red worked six furlongs at Hollywood in 1:13, the second-fastest work at the distance of the day.

"He worked easy and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.60 and a mile in 1:41," said his trainer, Ian Jory. Continental Red, a 7-year-old California-bred gelding, has earned $844,853 and would become a millionaire with a win in the Jim Murray.

Other likely starters include Mutakarrim, who was a steeplechase runner in Ireland, and Storming Home, Ballingarry, Murano, and either Denon or Chiselling.

September Secret is New York-bound

The filly who won the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes last year at Hollywood Park is still making news on the racetrack. California-based September Secret - who left a lot of pick four players frustrated when she was a late scratch from an April 25 allowance at Keeneland - is headed to Belmont Park for her next start. Trainer Mike Machowsky said Friday that the 4-for-6 filly would ship from Kentucky to Belmont this weekend and point for the Grade 2 Genuine Risk Handicap on May 11.

September Secret was the 7-5 program favorite in race 4 at Keeneland on April 25, and probably the most heavily used runner in the pick four. However, Machowsky scratched his filly late, after the pick four sequence already had begun. "She was a little uncomfortable in her stall, her feet were bugging her, and I would have been doing the wrong thing by running her," he said.

Machowsky said he was less concerned with the wagering than with the condition of his filly. September Secret has always had tender feet, but Machowsky said she is training well lately, and would leave Sunday or Monday for a showdown with Carson Hallow in the six-furlong Genuine Risk.

Caribbean player hits record pick four

Consecutive longshot winners in the last four races Thursday at Hollywood Park produced a record pick four payoff of $123,037 for one $1 ticket-holder. The four pick four winners each paid double-digit win mutuels - Blushing Ciel ($42.60), Song Minister ($15.80), Slew the Red ($37.60) and Okie Dokie Kokie ($44.40).

According to Hollywood officials, the winning ticket was purchased through Racing at Gaming Services in the Caribbean.

* Jockey C.C. Lopez scored his first victory in California on Thursday. Not surprisingly, he did it on a front-runner. Lopez, who relocated from New York to California two weeks ago, rode Good Day Sir to a $15.40 upset for trainer Juan Garcia in race 3. Lopez put Good Day Sir on the lead in the $10,000 claiming route for fillies and mares, and won by three lengths over 8-5 favorite Clever Miss Caper.

* Chief Planner and General Challenge have resumed training this week, following their performances on California Gold Rush Day last Saturday at Hollywood Park. Tim Yakteen, assistant trainer to Bob Baffert said both horses came out of their races well, but that future plans are undetermined. Chief Planner won the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes by seven lengths. General Challenge finished last in the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes, his first start in 2 1/2 years.